American’s, we’ve got it all wrong

So I was at the grocery store just a couple of days ago and as I hurried to the car I had my phone out texting Matt to tell him I was on my way home.  I then grabbed the 4 bags out of the basket and shoved it into the basket collection (from the other side of the drive might I add), as I clicked the trunk to open as I approached.  I was throwing the 4 bags into the open trunk, the door already closing behind me, when a car pulled up and a young man in a heavy accent said “It’s ok to take your time lady.  Lady, take your time” then he kindly waved at me and drove away.  I assumed that the man thought I was in a hurry because I saw him driving up and was trying to rush to give him my spot, which of course I was not.  I hand’t even seen him…

This scene instantly reminded me of my friend Isaac in Costa Rica.  When I was there last I turned to my friends at some point in the day and said something like “come on guys, hurry up, we have a lot to do today”.  Isaac immediately mocked me “Chantel says hurry up, come on, walk like a North American” as he hurriedly scurried past me grinning sillily.

Truth is, it’s not about being in a hurry to give up a parking space or because I have some pressing time schedule in Costa Rica, it’s about the fact that in North America rush is how we do life.  Every day is over-scheduled with a list of things that can never be fully accomplished in one day.  Smell the roses!  Who has time to smell roses?  Rest and leisure is not something we do well in North America, and we certainly do not take our time.

Why are we this way, and why does almost every other culture in the world get it but us?  Weather it’s siesta in Spain, riposo in Italy, or nap time in China.  Be it tea time in England, fika in Sweeden, or largely extended lunches in Portugal or France.  They have figured out something that we have not.  And I can hear the truth ringing loud and clear, “It’s ok to take your time Lady.  Lady take your time”.

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